There is still room to be had for conversations over dinner; and ongoing debates by politicians citing many more scholarly studies as to whether organic produce is actually "better for you" than conventionally raised crops.
And whether talk of a brown cow vs. a green leaf stimulates your moral code, your health and/or your pocketbook, all the back and forth is missing the most important point to be made: while organic farming may not yield healthier fruits, vegetables and livestock, it does foster a healthier environment. How long can we ignore the overwhelming facts, real evidence before us, that our Earth is being eaten up in favor of misleading disputes about the nutritional value of organic foods?
It's unfortunate how the spin that the organic food industry 'giant' is somehow going to overthrow our heartland's farmers rights as Americans to practice traditional agriculture as free enterprise has blinded us to the negative effects of pesticides and chemicals on our environment. The image of people living off organic diets as just feeding the need for yet another symbol of status or as an unfair advantage over others, is false. The resentment and stubbornness of clinging to these notions is a black cloud which overshadows seeing the benefits from healthier soil and cleaner air and water for all of us who share this planet.
Organic agriculture still makes up less than 1 percent of the world's farming acreage, so it's not exactly squeezing out conventional farming which uses 6.2 million miles to grow crops. With 11.6 million pastures dedicated to agriculture, we're using 60 times more land to grow and raise food. Half the world's fresh water helps with some form of farming such as irrigation.
Where's the threat by the Organic food industry to do anything dastardly with their right to free commerce, other than provide awareness of alternatives to spraying toxic pesticides and chemicals and methods of eliminating the contamination of soil, our water supply and the air we breathe.
The Organic Trade Association asserts that every if farmer in the U.S. converted to organic produce, we could eliminate 500 million pounds of persistent and harmful pesticides from entering the environment.
Trials conducted since 1981 by the Rodale Institute Farming Systems trials have concluded:
"If only 10,000 medium size farms in the U.S. converted to organic production, they would store so much carbon in the soil that it would be the equivalent of taking 1,174,400 cars off the road or reducing car miles driven by 14.62 billion miles."
According to Jon Foley, head of the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment, "Agriculture is the single biggest source of man made green house gases--more than industrial or transportation or electric generation." The EPA reports that the waste generated by animal agriculture has polluted over 35,000 miles of rivers in 22 states.
Over-crowded livestock creates an abundance of waste, which -- in case you don't know -- isn't put through the same sanitation process as human elimination. A single hog's 17.5 pounds of manure and urine a day multiplied by 1,000 hogs equals 6 million pounds of waste a year. Disposal is too often running off from lagoons leaks and spills into the oceans choking out our wildlife habitat.
Chemical fertilizers and pesticides have turned agriculture into the leading source of water pollution in the U.S.
You are a free agent to ponder whether to buy organic food, consume it or even care about it. We have however, lost the privilege of sitting idly by while our environment and animal health and welfare continues to take disastrously fatal beating from exposure to pesticides, chemicals and other consequences of what's consider the norm in conventional farming.
Instead of biting the organic hand that wants to feed us, let's chew on it and learn more about sustainable practices and farming techniques that will preserve life now and replenish our lands for future generations.